WeMidwives reports loss parent to his employer because I condemned the terrible way they treated him

Threat  Concept

Bullies always go for what they perceive as the weakest link.

UK Midwives are very upset with me, upset with what I’ve written and even more upset because it’s all true.

Recently I’ve written:

1. Hypocrite! Midwife Sheena Byrom, who has publicly treated a loss parent viciously, edits a book about compassion:

Byrom ought to be ashamed of herself for the derisive way that she dismissed the father of a baby who died as a result of midwifery incompetence. But that would involve kindness, compassion and respect, something in woefully short supply among UK midwives.

Imagine my surprise, then, to find that Byrom has edited a book about kindness, compassion and respect in maternity care.

Apparently, what she means is kindness, compassion and respect for those who agree with her and vicious, disrespectful neglect of anyone else who dares criticize Byrom and her colleagues.

2. Being a UK midwife means you never have to say you’re sorry:

In the wake of the Morecambe Bay Report, which investigated the deaths of 11 babies and a mother and placed blame squarely on a midwifery culture that valued “normal birth” above all else, you might think that UK midwives would be in a mood of somber reflection about their deadly philosophy.

You would be wrong.

Yesterday I entered the weekly Twitter chat at the hashtag #WeMidwives hosted by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). If I hadn’t been there myself, I would not have believed the smugness, meanness, utter lack of reflection and inability to tolerate criticism that characterized the Royal College of Midwives and it’s members.

Apparently, no matter how many dead babies, no matter how many dead mothers, being a UK midwife means you never have to say you’re sorry.

3. Midwives are wrong to fight fear in childbirth; it’s a lifesaving gift.

UK midwives’ desire to “fight fear” in childbirth is both grossly hypocritical and stunningly immoral. They want women to fear everything they can’t provide and they want women to ignore the legitimate, protective fear that they or their babies will be injured or die in life threatening emergencies that are all too common in childbirth.

4. And I’ve been participating quite vigorously in the comment section on The Guardian piece I loved being a midwife but bullying, stress and fear made me resign:

… I have never seen midwives or their defenders address is that “normal birth” is a construct of midwives, created for the benefit of midwives without any input from the majority of women. It is wrong for a provider to privilege process over outcome. A safe outcome should be the sine qua non of maternity care. A particular way of giving birth should NEVER be the goal except when a specific individual woman chooses it as HER goal.

Her body, her baby, her birth, NOT —- as it is now — her body, her baby, and the unmedicated vaginal birth that the midwife prefers, which never requires calling in anyone who might not support the midwife.

UK Midwives are very unhappy but apparently incapable of rebutting my claims or addressing my arguments.

Instead, they appear to be pressuring James Titcombe, whose baby died at the hands of midwives in Morecambe Bay, by sending the Twitter conversation about their unhappiness with his associations directly to his employer.

It appears that he tweeted a link to something I wrote. It’s hard to tell because he deleted it in response to their reaction.



@JamesTitcombe of course. But this person is extreme & opinions personal & damaging. Suggest discuss your liaison with @CareQualityComm


WeMidwives ‏@WeMidwives 2h2 hours ago

@JamesTitcombe @CareQualityComm think it would be wise to read @MidwiferyAction & listen to MWs in UK, not Obs in USA

So WeMidwives thinks it is perfectly acceptable to threaten a loss parent. That’s bad enough.

Why are they threatening him anyway? Because they think he can pressure me to stop.

They don’t know me very well, do they?

Let me state unequivocally (since they did “report” him by sending the tweet to his employer) that James Titcombe has nothing to do with what I’ve written in the past week about UK midwives. I don’t consult him; he doesn’t consult me; he has no control over what I write.

And let me publicly apologize to him for being a target of the wrath that UK midwives have for me. If they have a problem with me, they can address me directly.

Elsewhere in the Twitter feed, they claim:

we aren’t prepared to associate with this person-has no respect or credibility in UK

If that were the case, they wouldn’t be worried about me, and they are worried enough to threaten an innocent bystander.

Maybe someone familiar with the UK medical system can help me out here.

How can these midwives be so brazen as to pressure a loss parent publicly on social media?

Is their union so powerful that it doesn’t matter how they treat people?

Is anyone powerful enough to hold UK midwives to account for the deaths at their hands and for their outrageous, bullying behavior?

Or will the babies and mothers who die at the hands of UK midwives be buried twice, once in coffins in the ground and again by obliterating their deaths from public consciousness?

126 Responses to “WeMidwives reports loss parent to his employer because I condemned the terrible way they treated him”

  1. March 26, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

    My god. They’re threatening a person who lost a baby because of people like them. What is wrong with these people?

  2. sdsures
    March 26, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    Thanks also for putting all the Joshua-related recent posts in this place, too.

  3. ForeverMe
    March 24, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    Dr. Amy, thank you for calling these women out on their appalling behavior. Hopefully, it will reach the right ears.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      March 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

      Apparently Dr. Kirkup has noticed midwifery response.

      Comments from a recent interview;

      • PrimaryCareDoc
        March 24, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

        “Retrospective negativity???” What is it with the relentless need for positivity with these midwives? Mothers and babies died. That’s a negative.

        • Daleth
          March 25, 2015 at 10:52 am #

          Mentioning the fact that Hitler killed millions of Jews probably also qualifies as “retrospective negativity.” Nothing to see here, move along…

        • KarenJJ
          March 26, 2015 at 1:07 am #

          But they had a vaginal birth and I hope that they and their families will always remember that….

        • sdsures
          March 26, 2015 at 11:32 am #

          Looks like the midwives got their feefees hurt.

  4. Cartman36
    March 24, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    I don’t know how a parliament system works but if this happened in the US I would be calling my congressional representatives as well. This appears to be a clear cut case of retaliation considering that the case involving his son and his vocal complaints against the people responsible are completely separate of his employment (unless he is using company time and equipment to make the complaints but even then that is between James and his employer) .

  5. Cartman36
    March 24, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    His employer needs to tell them to pack sand and he should report them to NMC at complaints@nmc-uk.org. I don’t know anything about the UK system but in the US government employees cannot retaliate against someone that brings complaints against them. If I was him, I would complain to NMC and contact the UK equivalent of the attorney general’s office and the government accountability office.

    • Daleth
      March 25, 2015 at 10:53 am #

      EmployERs cannot retaliate, you mean. Just clarifying that so your message gets across loud and clear.

      • Cartman36
        March 25, 2015 at 11:56 am #

        No. I am quite certain if a US government employee took steps to retaliate against a member of the public that complained about them it would not be kosher. It would be like a mailman complaining to my employer after I complained to the postmaster about them. I don’t have a specific reference but I am sure it is in the CFR somewhere.

        • Cartman36
          March 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

          To be clear, if what happened to James happened to me in the US, I would see this as an attempt by the government employees (in his case the NHS employees posting as Wemidwives) to prevent me from exercising my first amendment right to free speech and I would pursue complaints as such.

        • Daleth
          March 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

          Oh, I see what you mean.

  6. Mac Sherbert
    March 24, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    What ever you do don’t listen to highly qualified OB’s in USA…listen to us. We can’t have those yanks interfering with our substandard care over here. laughable.

    • toni
      March 24, 2015 at 11:52 am #

      A lot of British people are very precious about the NHS and do not take kindly to loud-mouth Americans (no offence, Dr Amy) swooping in to lambaste any part of it. My American SiL suffers terrible HG when she’s pregnant and when she was staying with my family she decided 6 days of not keeping anything down was enough and as she couldn’t get an appt through our local GP surgery within two weeks we took her to casualty. She got quite a rollicking from the staff for ‘wasting resources’ when this was clearly ‘not an emergency’ and most women got sick from being pregnant etc etc. She was bitching about this treatment a few months later within earshot of a very PC lefty teacher friend of our family (nice chap actually) and he was very twitched and assumed this ‘how dare you?’ attitude. Grumbling something about at least our paramedics don’t check your wallet for insurance cards before they check your pulse

      • Mac Sherbert
        March 24, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

        And American’s wouldn’t take kindly to NHS doctors doing the same here. But once you get past that…it’s we don’t want to listen to other professionals in the field.

        And paramedics don’t check for insurance cards nor do emergency room…We EMS workers in the family so I know!

        • toni
          March 24, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

          yeah the midwives themselves just don’t like to be told their limitations by doctors, any doctors. but the fact that Dr Amy is not British just adds to the resentment i’m sure. but the overwhelming majority of comments from non-nhs workers are defensive of the midwife led system as well. it’s all most of us know and criticism of it is taken as an attack on the nhs as a whole so it is rejected out of hand. plus the idea of obstetricians for every labouring woman sounds like major overkill to a lot, probably most, brits.

          • Dr Kitty
            March 24, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

            There are some of us who work in and love the NHS, who agree with Dr T and don’t like the current direction of travel of maternity care. They ignore us too.

            toni- your poor SIL!
            I had the opposite experience myself- in my first pregnancy when I had HG I waited until I hadn’t passed urine for 18hrs, hadn’t kept anything down for 5 days and got told off in A&E and on the maternity ward for not coming in sooner!
            This time round everyone was more than happy to give me thousands of pounds worth of Zofran to keep me out of hospital, without any suggestion of wasting resources or just sucking it up.

            I’m not sure that what your SIL got was an NHS specific attitude issue, or was just an attitude of ignorance and dismissiveness towards nausea and vomiting in pregnancy held by those particular staff.
            All I’ve ever got from the NHS staff I have been in contact with when I have been unwell during pregnancy has been sympathy and understanding when it came to HG.

          • Wren
            March 25, 2015 at 4:03 am #

            I have not had that attitude towards severe morning sickness from NHS staff in either the area I lived in or the area my in-laws lived in. I was hospitalised for 3 days, starting Christmas day, with my second and had nothing but sympathy. I went in through A&E as well. I would find it more likely she came across a few bad apples than it being the attitude throughout the NHS.

            As an American who grew up well-insured in the US living in the UK for the past 20 years, I find the way many Americans dismiss poor attitudes and mistakes by individual health care providers in the US as one bad person or incident but flag up any negative interactions with NHS staff as indicative of the entire system beings wrong extremely frustrating. The vast majority of my interactions with the NHS over the past 20 years have been as positive as possible given that they mostly involve illness and/or pain.

          • toni
            March 25, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

            I don’t think it is typical either but it happened and it didn’t give her a good impression. They thought it was something a GP should take care of and she was depriving a more needy person of a bed. which is really what you want when you’ve been vomiting 15 times a day for almost a week.. someone laying on the guilt and making you feel ashamed of yourself. my mother was with her and fortunately she is pretty fierce and put her foot down. she asked for all their numbers and stuff because it seemed like they were really trying to pressure them to leave. she said going six days without food and adequate hydration is serious and being pregnant does not make it less so. I didn’t mean to suggest it was nhs policy or anything and I think you are right it was the ‘it’s just pregnancy -deal with it’ attitude of a couple of staff members who were probably just feeling lazy.

          • Joy
            March 25, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

            Interesting, my friend was told there were no medications she could have for her morning sickness, but maybe they just didn’t want to give it to her because “drugs!11!”

      • Sarah
        March 24, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

        The problem is that some of the people who run it down- not Dr Amy- do so because they want it privatised. Particularly our right wing politicians. There’s an awareness that criticism can be political. It’s not always easy to separate that from honest, well intentioned discussion about how we could retain our socialised system but still do things better.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        March 24, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

        I like the NHS. I’d give my right kidney to have NHS style care in the US. But it’s not perfect and pretending it is is only going to make it harder to fix the problems. Like the fact that it’s being starved for funds by right wing politicians who want to be able to say, “You see, universal health care is clearly a bad idea.”

        • Maya Markova
          March 25, 2015 at 9:41 am #

          None of my friends emigrants to the UK has kind words for the local health care (and keep in mind they are coming from a country with wretched health care). One child with otitis was prescribed placebo until his eardrum perforated, and the husband of a woman in birth had to threaten the staff to make them accept her (they claimed she was not in birth and repeatedly sent her away). The British, compared to other nations with universal health care, seem reluctant to supplement this health care with additional payments, even when their health or their very lives are at risk.

          • sdsures
            March 26, 2015 at 11:48 am #

            There is a significant faction of the woo brigade here. There’s a dedicated Homeopathy Hospital in London, too. *cringe*

            (Just noticed on the left side of the screen: “Scream Therapy Room”! XD) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0

        • Daleth
          March 25, 2015 at 10:55 am #

          I lived in the UK for several years and have serious reservations about the NHS. On the other hand, I also lived in France and have nothing but kind words for their socialized healthcare system. It’s far better than the NHS, so much so that for decades the NHS has been sending British people to France for treatment when the NHS isn’t able to get them what they need.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            March 25, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

            My step-great-grandfather-in-law (if that relationship makes any sense!) lived in France in his later years and seems to have received excellent care. I’ve lived in Germany and been impressed with my rather minimal interactions with the health care system there. I have reservations about the NHS as well, but the US system is just such a mess that it makes the NHS look good. Both the US and Britain, IMHO, undervalue health care.

          • toni
            March 25, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

            From my experience of living there, French healthcare is very good. Only thing that lets it down is mainstream acceptance of homeopathy. I think maybe doctors just recommend it when they think there is nothing really wrong with you for the placebo effect. Singapore has hands down the best My family always go there for big things, we are very lucky to be able to take advantage of it.(Hong Kong I’m told is similar but I have no personal experience). Of course they are very wealthy countries so I suppose most couldn’t emulate them(?). Governement involvement is fine IMO but I think single-payer is a no go.

          • sdsures
            March 26, 2015 at 11:46 am #

            The Canadian system is also good. I have no complaints about the NHS.

        • MaineJen
          March 25, 2015 at 11:52 am #

          Actually, the surgeon would prefer your left kidney. 🙂

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            March 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

            I’m reserving my left kidney for the French, German, or Scandinavian system.

          • Mariana Baca
            March 25, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

            I’ve received care in the Swedish healthcare system… ug. I hope I never have something more serious than what I had based on the quality of care. (and since I had to pay anyway for being foreign, they made sure I filled billing paperwork out before I received emergency treatment… ) I’ve received much better care in for-pay systems in third world countries. (sterile cultures and samples! isn’t that modern medicine 101?)

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            March 25, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

            Really? Interesting. They get good results. I’ve been treated for some minor issues in Germany and my main problem was that no one could figure out how, when, or possibly why to take my money when I tried to pay them. (Of course, this was on the “I have a UTI, please give me some antibiotics” level, so not exactly a big challenge for the health care system.)

          • Mariana Baca
            March 25, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

            This was a UTI, too. They “tested” urine in a dixie cup from a stack of dixie cups that was just sitting unsealed in a bathroom, and my urine sat uncovered in the nurses office with her billing paperwork. Doctor came in a few hours later and wrote me a script for a generic antibiotic. They did not give me phenazopyridine for pain and seemed to have no idea what I was talking about (they all spoke english, maybe it isn’t available there?). Not rocket science, was charged arond 2000$ for this. (It was urgent care, not an emergency room). This was in a major city, main hospital in town. They made sure to photocopy my passport and made me give them every address and phone number and email I had to give them in order to bill me before they would treat me.

            I’ve heard similar stories from other foreigners getting treatment in Sweden, so it wasn’t a fluke. I was helping a friend with getting mental health treatment there, and that was a far greater nightmare.

            I’m sure healthcare can vary wildly depending on the country in Europe, so I’m not generalizing beyond that.

          • sdsures
            March 26, 2015 at 11:45 am #

            *cringing as I read about the open dixie cups* Did you write a complaint to the hospital about their shoddy procedures? You can do that.

        • sdsures
          March 26, 2015 at 11:44 am #

          Nope, not perfect. But it’s good, as is the Canadian system of socialized medicine.

      • Alenushka
        March 24, 2015 at 6:52 pm #

        It so happened that both of my kids had ambulance transport in the last year. Paramedics do not check anyone’s pockets before transport. This is offensive. US healthcare system sucks in many way but we do have EMTALA and Obamacare increased access for many,.

        • toni
          March 24, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

          I don’t know where the idea came from but it was not the first time I heard that from someone criticising US insurance system

          • Alenushka
            March 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

            US insurance system sucks, no doubt.

          • March 24, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

            Sure, you’ll get a bill for $12,000 after the fact, but when someone’s life is in danger paramedics will take care of you. So will emergency departments in a true emergency.

      • Who?
        March 24, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

        Sounds like they both could have been a bit more gracious. She was treated in the end, though no doubt she could have done without the commentary. I guess in the US she would have had service with a smile and a bill instead. Certainly she may have found that preferable when she was feeling so very sick. Another time she could go to a private hospital emergency ward if there is one around.

        I find it amusing that your friend responded with ill-informed remarks about other environments, like two wrongs somehow make a right.

        I hope they both had glasses of wine and moved on.

        • Joy
          March 25, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

          I don’t see where she said her SIL got treatment. My friend had severe morning sickness. They don’t provide medication in the UK. You go in after not being able to hold down food or water for x number of days. You get an IV to rehydrate you. You get sent home. You come back in again when you haven’t been able to keep the food down. Rinse, lather, repeat for the whole pregnancy. In our area at least. In the US and Canada they have some medication for this, as far as I am aware it isn’t approved in the UK.

          • toni
            March 25, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

            when I said ‘bitching about her treatment’ i meant the way she was spoken to not the medical treatment. But yes she was treated eventually with IV fluids. Dr Kitty previously mentioned zoloft(?) as something they can give you but maybe they are just stingy with it in some districts.

            it was at a garden party and they weren’t talking to each other he could just overhear her complaining and took umbrage so i had to listen to him bore on about how terrible things are in the states. SiL was oblivious that she had offended anyone lol

          • Joy
            March 25, 2015 at 7:49 pm #

            I figured you meant the way she was treated and not any medication, but maybe because I have been in the UK for too long?

          • sdsures
            March 26, 2015 at 11:41 am #

            Zoloft (ondansetron) is only given to patients in a hospital setting over here (UK), the rationale being that if you are sick enough to need it, you therefore need to be in hospital. As I understand it, Zoloft is a regular medication that you can get from your doctor or OB in the US. Having dealt with extreme levels of nausea secondary to chronic migraines, I wish the NHS would allow Zoloft to be prescribed by GPs, since in my case, technically I am not sick enough to be hospitalized, but neither is the nausea anything to trifle with. It’s a complex system the NHS has created that in my view can and should be simplified. Maybe the people who made that rule have never been pregnant or had HG! 😉

            They also have a rule here that regular pharmacies cannot fill prescriptions issued by an ER doctor; they must be filled by the hospital pharmacy. Very silly way to run things!

          • Ash
            March 26, 2015 at 11:56 am #

            I believe Dr Kitty is taking Zofran on an outpatient basis for HG. She lives in the UK.

          • sdsures
            March 26, 2015 at 11:59 am #

            Nice! Could it be down to a difference in NHS Trust location? (I’m in Salford, Greater Manchester.)

            No worries; I got a script for buccastem (prochlorperazine) from the out-of-hours GP. It’s good stuff. If I’m still this sick when I see my GP on March 31, I’ll see if she has any other ideas.

          • Ash
            March 26, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

            I believe Dr. K lives in Northern Ireland. Maybe I’m wrong though

          • sdsures
            March 26, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

            OK – that’s still within the UK (The Republic of Ireland is not part of the UK.).

          • Dr Kitty
            March 26, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

            ZOFRAN is ondanstron, an antiemetic.

            ZOLOFT is sertraline, an SSRI antidepressant.

            In the UK you certainly CAN get medication.

            Promethazine, Cyclizine, Metoclopramide, Prochlorperazine- all can be prescribed by GPs, and certainly should be for women with severe hyperemesis and weight loss and/or dehydration and/or organ damage.

            Zofran was prescribed happily by my GP, after telephone discussion with an OB, when it was clear that the Cyclizine alone wasn’t working.

            Zofran use for hyperemesis is off label, but not uncommon.

            Technically, unless a drug is red label and hospital only (things like Roaccutane, Clozapine, Rituximab, chemo drugs) a GP can prescribe it, for both licensed and off-label use, at their own discretion and based on clinical assessment.

            The person who signs the prescription is ultimately responsible for any poor outcome though…which makes many GPs wary to prescribe off label drugs for pregnant women, even though there is nothing actually stopping them from doing so.

            Let’s just say that my GP may have been happier to prescribe me Zofran, on the basis that as a Dr I was fully informed of the risks and benefits and rather insistent that she did!

  7. The Computer Ate My Nym
    March 24, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    I’m a little confused, though. Does James Titcombe work for the care quality committee?

    • lawyer jane
      March 24, 2015 at 10:59 am #

      Apparently so: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/james-titcombe

      Also, interesting that he formerly worked in the nuclear industry. Nuclear plants have extremely detailed protocols to do a “root cause” analysis after any sort of incident. So it makes sense that he would be taking this mindset and applying it to maternity care. It’s an organizational culture that regards some sentinel events (nuclear incidents) as needing to be prevented absolutely, vs one that apparently regards sentinel events (preventable baby death) as something “unfortunate” that results in a need to “support the midwives.”

      • March 24, 2015 at 11:31 am #

        That’s a very astute point.

      • KarenJJ
        March 25, 2015 at 12:21 am #

        Wow – yes. The sort of workplace culture that these midwives are showing would not be tolerated in many other fields. It baffles me that they are trying to defend it, and their incompetent colleagues, so thoroughly and so viciously.

  8. Cobalt
    March 24, 2015 at 7:56 am #

    Wow. Just insane. They really just want to shut this man up, and their reasons are beyond redemption.

  9. Sarah
    March 24, 2015 at 6:31 am #

    I’m in the UK. I have respect for Dr Amy, though we disagree on a number of points. That means she does, in fact, have some respect in the UK.

    • Christina Maxwell
      March 24, 2015 at 8:58 am #

      Me too! I respect her hugely.

  10. Staceyjw
    March 24, 2015 at 6:18 am #

    This is the go to for bullies in 2015. You don’t like what someone has to say? did they offend you? maybe disagree? Well then, time to screw with their job! It’s great to try to (and sometimes succeed) to get someone in trouble, demoted, even fired, because you don’t like what they said on the web.
    This happens to all types of people these days. Ought to be illegal.

    • Cobalt
      March 24, 2015 at 9:16 am #

      More employers need to turn it around and tell the bully to stuff it. It’s got to be annoying to HR to have a bunch of stupid reports of employees acting like normal human beings.

      • Allie P
        March 24, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

        I think that generally is the approach to the doxxers. I know the doctor who writes online as Orac has been doxxed to his employers multiple times, and they kind of shrug it off.

    • LibrarianSarah
      March 24, 2015 at 10:52 am #

      And if you have a disability they call the social security office and try to get your benefits taken away.

      • demodocus' spouse
        March 24, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

        Someone called the cops on my (blind) husband when he was out walking with our baby in a carrier several months ago. Apparently, they thought he was walking “erratically”, by which I assume they meant he was stopping at all the crosswalks determining auditorily if there were any cars he needed to worry about. Cop came, spoke with him a minute, and wished him a nice day. Every once in a while you hear about CPS being called because someone thinks the blindy (or otherwise disabled) cannot take care of his/her child

        • Cartman36
          March 24, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

          CPS can be frightening. They have pretty broad powers if they feel that a child is in danger even though the CPS agent and the parent might disagree about what constitutes danger. I think it is generally good to err on the side of protecting the child but removing a child from a home should ONLY be done as a last resort.

          I have heard stories (I don’t know if they are true) where CPS has been called due to parents refusing to vaccinate. This is probably the only time that I would agree with a non-vaxxer but that doesn’t constitute abuse or reason to involve CPS.

          • demodocus' spouse
            March 24, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

            Just having CPS come to your house, and having to convince someone who has the ability to take your child that you are competent is quite tough enough. I know I had to convince a social worker that the hospital had talk to me that yes, Dem is blind, and no, that doesn’t make me effectively a single parent. She could not believe it for half an hour. I think she was more convinced by me saying my pastor would help (true, she babysits) than my assertions that Dem would do just fine.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle
            March 24, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

            Geez, that is really scary that blindness is a reason for CPS to be involved. How is that legal?

          • An Actual Attorney
            March 24, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

            Can’t imagine it is under the ADA.

            But if everyone did only what was legal, I’d be out of a job.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            March 24, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

            CPS involvement seems excessive, but I wouldn’t mind having a social worker visit children born to disabled parents while they’re in the hospital, if the question were, “Is there anything I can do to help make your life easier?” not “Are you competent to care for your own child?” Heck, I’d like to see a social work visit to assess whether the family would benefit from available programs to aid families with children for every child at birth. But NOT if it’s going to turn into harassing the parent for being disabled or unmarried or whatever else doesn’t meet the establishment’s approval.

          • demodocus' spouse
            March 24, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

            Didn’t happen to us, thankfully; I read a newspaper article ages back about something similar. I don’t remember the full story, or even what paper it was in; it was research for a college paper. A person can make all sorts of claims if they’re calling cps, can’t they?
            The social worker I saw was at the hospital where I was having some tests. I don’t know if she saw everybody or just everybody who wasn’t using insurance. (I had to go out of network to get IVF) Either way, she seemed to be straight out of college and definitely had no idea that blind people can be competent. Dem does as much with the baby as I do when he’s not working, and our little guy prefers Daddy to change his diapers. (I’m cool with that!)

          • Cartman36
            March 24, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

            That is crazy! It irritates me when people assume that just because someone has a disability they are somehow incompetent. Your husband navigates the world without one of his senses so I would assume he is probably more capable than those of us that have all of them.

          • demodocus' spouse
            March 24, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

            So long as he’s paying attention. He’s a philosopher, so sometimes not so much, lol. (Fortunately, he’s always paying attention when he’s got the little guy))

      • March 24, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

        I once, long ago, had my unemployment cancelled because an Internet bully called and claimed I was lying about job hunting.

  11. StThomas
    March 24, 2015 at 5:35 am #

    From the NMC site:

    How to complain

    You can complain by email or letter to:

    Complaints Manager 23 Portland Place London W1B 1PZ

    Email: complaints@nmc-uk.org

    • moto_librarian
      March 24, 2015 at 10:02 am #

      I just forwarded the Tweet from WeMidwives to the complaints e-mail address. I am simply revolted by their behavior, and I hope they face consequences.

  12. Dr Kitty
    March 24, 2015 at 5:25 am #

    The complaint should be directed to the NMC, for unprofessional behaviour on social media.
    I think it would be best coming from Mr Titcombe himself (if he can honestly be bothered getting involved in that).

    I do love how they’re trying to deny him freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of association- super respectful of human rights, no?

    I also find this remarkable given than RANZCOG has just used the evidence of a US obstetrician to change their policy on planned homebirth…
    Apparently they shouldn’t have bothered paying attention because it wasn’t evidence from Aus and NZ midwives…

  13. peanutmama
    March 24, 2015 at 4:52 am #

    Who do these people think they are??? Horrible!!

  14. lilin
    March 24, 2015 at 2:24 am #

    Okay. Time to look for someone to report this kind of behavior to. Let’s email the papers, the NHS, anyone and everyone who can put a spotlight on these people and what they do. It may not shake off their hold on power, but it’s time they felt a little pressure for their behavior towards people who dare (dare!) to talk to people they don’t like.

  15. monojo
    March 24, 2015 at 12:47 am #

    I know a lot of people who went to Penn State, and this reminds me of the child abuse scandal. As more and more information came to light, everyone became more and more disgusted and horrified…except the Penn Staters. They went further into denial, and kept defending the indefensible. I hope those midwives face serious consequences, this is sickening.

    • auntbea
      March 24, 2015 at 11:43 pm #

      I teach at Penn State and almost all the faculty as well as a lot of students agree with the Frehe Report. Are these alumni you are talking to?

      • Joy
        March 25, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

        I went to Penn State and everyone I know is disgusted by it all.

      • monojo
        March 25, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

        These are all alumni, mostly old friends from high school on Facebook. In the very unscientific environment of my newsfeed, I noticed many alums posting “We are!” and changing their profile pics to Joe Paterno, things like that. A few posted links to articles supportive of Paterno, and a few outright denied the evidence that there had been a cover-up. Of course my perception may be skewed because I wouldn’t have noticed anyone NOT saying anything, but it was still shocking. I am very glad to hear that the faculty and majority of the students agree with the report! I hope there are some rational midwives who will accept responsibility for Morecambe Bay and the debacle that has ensued.

    • Wombat
      March 25, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

      I’ve looked at Penn State’s world campus in the past and recently again lately (congenital deformities requiring various surgeries makes me midly disabled already and it is only worsening + requires time out for treatment. Online classes have been a godsend and a respectable (non for profit type) online BA would be amazing) and was kind of worried about this attitude / association. But I think that it’s mostly alumni and sports fans, as auntbea commented, and obviously not even all of them fall in that camp. The other students I spoke to either didn’t mention it or were extremely pissed that it happened at their school.

  16. Christina Maxwell
    March 23, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

    I will answer your questions as best I can, though of course it’s just my (unqualified) opinion): 1. They totally believe their own publicity because 2. yes, their union is that powerful leading to 3. no, there is nobody powerful enough to tackle them because that same bullying, complaining and political maneuvering has put them in an unassailable position. This of course just underlines the fact that they don’t greatly care about babies or mothers because 4. ideology trumps all other concerns.
    There are many good midwives here, some excellent ones in fact but their decency, willingness to work hard and genuine care for women and babies largely rules them out of the political machinations. They don’t have the time or the mindset for it.
    The Midwife leadership has been pandered to by governments, NICE, RCOG etc for years because if they don’t get what they want they scream, yell and stamp their feet, claiming to be oppressed and ‘disrespected’. They don’t care about Mr. Titcombe and the extra hurt they are piling on to him because he is just one man and has no power. Straight back to question 1 in fact. They do it because they can get away with it and they just don’t care.

    • Ava
      March 24, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

      The reason why the government panders to midwife leadership is not the screaming, yelling and foot stomping.
      It’s far more cynical: cost saving. Having mid-level providers do the work that was previously done by (more expensive) doctors. THAT is the reason for the recent efforts to promote the ‘midwifery model of care’. The only reason that midwives are able to pull this ‘protecting normal birth’ and ‘stop te cesarean epidemic’ crap is because the UK government wants to save a buck by using them to provide the bulk of maternity care.
      They will soon be observed doing a 180° when the fact that 20% of the NHS maternity care budget is now being spent on malpractice suit payouts sinks in.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      March 24, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

      I don’t believe that their union is that powerful. I think it’s about cost containment pure and simple: midwives charge less, a child born at home costs less in the immediate term than a child born in the hospital, and a low intervention birth costs less than a high intervention birth. It’s all a false economy as the malpractice premiums demonstrate, but until that fact catches up with the people with the real power, i.e. the politicians making these decisions and their 0.0001% backers, there won’t be any change. Then they’ll go the opposite way entirely, ban midwives, even the competent ones praticing within their scope of practice, and blame everything that went wrong on “unions” and “feminists”.

      Not that I’m cynical or anything.

      • Christina Maxwell
        March 25, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

        It is that powerful. Their words are reported in the media (some of the media) as gospel. Our previous government throwing money at the health service made no difference. The current government demanding increased availability of cesarians made no difference. Nothing makes any difference. Midwives are in control and they outnumber doctors in maternity units. GPs defer to them. When I was having my daughters 20-30 years ago GPs were still the gatekeepers, not any more. Criticizing midwives is seen as ‘anti-women’, anti choice etc. and that, more than anything, is politically unacceptable.

  17. An Actual Attorney
    March 23, 2015 at 11:12 pm #

    I know this is the least of it, but the grammar horrifies me. These women say they are educated?

  18. Jocelyn
    March 23, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    That is disgusting.

  19. Allie
    March 23, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    Interesting logic – a UK midwife knows more in the UK than a US OB. Yes, Dr. Amy is not licensed to practice medicine in the UK, and a UK resident who has questions about obstetrical care should consult a physician in the UK, but that does not mean a UK midwife knows more than a US OB. Accepted best practices may differ to an extent (i.e. things like what blood sugar level qualifies for a GD diagnosis), but they can’t be that different.

    • Christina Maxwell
      March 23, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

      Good luck getting to see said physician. Unless you are very high risk there’s bugger all chance of that. Midwives are manning the ramparts more and more with every passing year and repelling all invaders (the poor bloody women who just want a safe, happy birth).

  20. March 23, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    Whoa. The the actual f.

  21. March 23, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    Wow. That’s some seriously vicious bullying.

  22. March 23, 2015 at 9:39 pm #


    I am just seeing red right now. I had to take deep breaths and try to chill but my head is pounding and it feels like my eyeballs are about to pop out of my skull.

    The NERVE of these women.

  23. Trixie
    March 23, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

    Well this is just unbelievably disgusting. I am speechless.

  24. moto_librarian
    March 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    I used to think that UK midwives were like American CNMs. This behavior makes me think that they are more in line with the hucksters who claim to be midwives but are merely undertrained ideologues – CPMs, DEMs, and LMs.

    I am so disgusted by all of this. This is not how professionals behave. I hope the NHS finally wakes up and weeds out these frauds before more lives are lost.

    • CrownedMedwife
      March 23, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

      Ideology. If it infects an organization or a profession, comparisons of education and expertise are pointless. Midwifery is infected. The atrociousness of Morecambe and the RCM responses demonstrate it all too well. This behavior is a sickening representation of its attempts to purport the superiority of the ideology at all costs, it’s beyond buried twice. I didn’t realize that was even possible.

    • Sarah
      March 24, 2015 at 6:29 am #

      A lot of them are CNMesque. Unfortunately, not all.

  25. Squillo
    March 23, 2015 at 9:22 pm #


    You really are “She Who Must Not Be Named” to them, aren’t you? If a midwifery patient speaks your name, do you get a magical alert and swoop in? Because that might result in actual improvement in UK midwifery services. (Seems like magic is the only way that will ever happen.)

    • Trixie
      March 23, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

      Dr Amy is magic. She’s the all-seeing Eye of Sauron. She is in all places at all times and anyone who expresses concern about the safety of home birth or midwifery care is either her puppet or her shill. It can’t be that anyone actually agrees with her.

      • Elizabeth A
        March 23, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

        I don’t know where she finds the time to write all the comments on these comment threads. She’s just sitting in the Tardis, cranking out All The Content from inside the time warp.

  26. MLE
    March 23, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    UGH! I want to vomit. Don’t let them get to you James!!!

  27. Dr. W
    March 23, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    Jesus, could you imagine what an American jury would do to an MD if they behaved in a similar way after a similar outcome, documented, no less? That lawsuit would be a festival of zeros. The jerk MD would have zero chance, and the settlement would have so many zeros the judge would have to step in to keep it in the tens of millions.

    • attitude devant
      March 23, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

      ‘festival of zeros’

      Awesome! Stealing that….

    • the wingless one
      March 23, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

      I don’t get how the UK system works? Why don’t these families have any recourse in the deaths that are found to have been preventable? I feel sick to my stomach knowing what they’ve done to all these families and even more sick that they’re just out there, continuing to work in maternity wards, even as they bully a loss father out in the open with zero sense of shame. Ugh.

      • Dr Kitty
        March 24, 2015 at 10:53 am #

        They can sue the hospital trust.
        The death of a newborn is not a case where there is going to be a big financial payout, because of how such things are calculated.

        • Mac Sherbert
          March 24, 2015 at 11:56 am #

          I guess from a very logical point of view that makes sense. What’s a baby worth? A damaged baby is worth more than a dead one because it will have to be cared for?

          Where as in the U.S. the jury will often award large sums due to pain and suffering. It’s often criticized, but in a case like this it’s starting to make much more sense to me.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            March 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

            We can look at it from the “cost to treat” perspective. For example, how much are we willing to pay to extend a life? Medical ethithists think about things like this. At one point, many (maybe 10) years ago, the number I heard being discussed was that the line was about $50K per year – therefore, in terms of treatment, we (as a society) were willing to pay about $50K for each year of life that would result. So if a cancer treatment would gain someone an extra 10 years, we would be willing to pay about $500K. If it cost a million, we’d insist that it give us 20 years or it wouldn’t be worth it. This is also used in assessing the value of things like NNT and what costs are acceptable with that.

            No one actually every says, “This is how much life is worth” but it can be estimated based on how we act.

            I don’t know what the current value is, but if we use the $50K number as a guideline, you could argue that the “value” of the dead child is 50K x average lifespan. If we use 80 years, that puts the value at about about $4 mil for the loss of a baby.

        • Alannah
          March 24, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

          Wouldnt the families be able to sue the individual midwives who failed to recongise complications and involve doctors?
          Why can’t the Titcombe famlily sue these midwives? There could be both criminal and civil charges, so it won’t matter whether the MWs in question are still practising or not.

    • Trixie
      March 23, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

      Great phrase.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      March 24, 2015 at 10:37 am #

      I love the phrase “a festival of zeros”. No hospital in the US would let this go to a trial, though. They’d settle and probably fire the doctor involved. Both as quickly as possible.

  28. Amazed
    March 23, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    I can’t believe it. Those bitches! Mid-level providers with zero-lever responsibility and under-zero-level compassion.

    • Dr. W
      March 23, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

      Has anybody told them they are mid-levels? An important part of mid-level, or any level, is knowing where the level ends. They sure do seem to act like they run the joint. I suppose they will stay at it, unless consequences make them change.

      • Amazed
        March 23, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

        Sadly,. I see no consequences. In fact, they look shockingly unafraid of consequences. Chilling.

        I’m starting to think that the letter the American CPM who failed Bomb (or was it Liz P,?) was forced to write to the mother is actually an example of high-lever oversee by a professional body compared to those women’s impudence.

        • Bomb
          March 24, 2015 at 1:47 am #

          That was me. The midwifery board ordered her to write an apology, which she didn’t even do.

  29. March 23, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    That’s awful. Truly. Patient advocates already face incredible barriers when it comes to getting their voices heard to affect change in the system. They don’t need to be bullied by care providers about who they happen to view as having credible and relevant views.

  30. RMY
    March 23, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

    That’s one of the most miserable things I’ve heard of all day. How do they sleep at night?

  31. Allie P
    March 23, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

    Is that his employer or an NHS watchdog group? This is how they describe themselves on their twitter feed: “We check whether hospitals, care homes & care services are meeting national standards. “

  32. PrimaryCareDoc
    March 23, 2015 at 8:46 pm #


    • CrownedMedwife
      March 23, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

      Not one to swear in a public forum, but unfuckingy believable seems to be the only response I’ve got. Aside from that, speechless. Just utterly disgusting.

  33. attitude devant
    March 23, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    They did WHAAAAT?!??? Unbelievable!

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